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Two Prominent Rights Activists Sentenced To Six Years Each

Farhad Meysami (L) and Reza Khandan, undated. File photo

Two prominent civil rights activists, Reza Khandan and Farhad Meysami have been sentenced to six years, banned from contributing to media and using social media for two years, their attorney, Mohammad Moqimi, reported.

Speaking to the Islamic Republic's government official news agency (IRNA), Moqimi said on Tuesday, January 22, the verdicts against his clients have been issued.

Charged with "assembly" and "collusion" against national security, Khandan and Meysami have been sentenced to five years, and one year for "propaganda against the ruling establishment", Moqimi disclosed.

Based on the same verdicts, Khandan and Maysami have been also banned for two years from membership in political parties and groups. Furthermore, they are banned from leaving Iran, for two years.

Reza Khandan, whose wife, the distinguished lawyer and human rights defender, Nasrin Sotoudeh is behind bars, was arrested at his home on September 4, 2018, and released on December 23.

Farhad Meysami, a physician and civil rights activist, was arrested on July 31, 2018, and still held in custody.

Speaking to Radio Farda, Meysami's mother, Sediqeh Pishnamaz revealed that her son was arrested for keeping dozens of lapel pins with a slogan on them that read "I Protest Compulsory Hijab".

Khandan's wife, a prominent lawyer and anti-death-penalty activist, Nasrin Sotoudeh was detained on June 13, 2018, and based on a verdict issued more than two years ago in absentia, sentenced to five years.

Five UN experts and dozens of international human rights organizations have called for the release of all defenders of women's rights in Iran, including Khandan, Sotoudeh, and Maysami.

"When behind bars in Block 4 of [Tehran's infamous prison] Evin, I found out that the number of political prisoners is much more than what we had thought," Khandan disclosed on his Facebook page on Tuesday, January 22, adding, "Only in our block, there were seventy political prisoners that probably 17% of them are known outside the prison."

Criticizing the lack of statistics concerning political prisoners in Iran, Khandan has lamented that nobody knows what happens to those whose cases are not publicly known.